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Good Friday. 04/02/10 in Albuquerque, NM.

It is dark and crisp outside at 5am as Isaiah and I leave the house for Chimayo. The city lights of Albuquerque glitter in the clear pre-dawn air: the city sleeps but for those on the road to pilgrimage.

Signs past Santa Fe read, “Caution, watch out for walkers”, but we have not seen many walkers, only cars. The few walkers we see are bundled up in sweats and gloves to stay warm in the 27 degree chill.

The last 10 miles into Chimayo slows down as people park to walk the road into El Santuario de Chimayo.

“Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things pass.
God does not change.
Patience achieves everything.
Whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.”

~ Saint Teresa of Avila

We drive the full way and find parking in a lot outside the church.

It is 7am and dawn has met us. We have an hour or so of precious morning light in which to record.

There is something special about El Santuario de Chimayo. It is in the atmosphere of the faithful, and there are signs everywhere that they have been here.

We talk to one man who has walked in from 12 miles out carrying a cross and a 40 pound backpack of rocks. It was important for him to walk the walk of faith on Good Friday feeling the pain of Our Lord. Hearing him speak, well, his conviction was deep, and I will remember his walk.

Isaiah and I make our way into the church – there is no photography allowed which is too bad as there are some images…(as I write this I am jonesing).

It is filled with people, inside, and there is a line forming for the back room where the blessed dirt is found. There is a lady in line walking on her knees, advancing in true pilgrimage piety her hands clasped in prayer. I am moved by her offering and burn her image into my mind. The line moves slowly. I think of the flesh of her knees on the rough and cold stone aisle floor.

I sit in the church for a while finally making my way to the back room.

I get some of the dirt, rub it in my hands and place some on my face and I pray. I retrieve a baggy from the other room and fill it with the dirt from the hole in the floor.

There is a woman in prayer standing by the window in the tiny back room. Just she and me: I take a photo.

I meet up with Isaiah outside and encourage him to see the back room since we are here (he goes in through the exit only door – I encouraged that too).

Afterward we grab a bite to eat and I have a coffee. I need it.

We walk up the road to see the pilgrims as they continue to enter the area of the church – some having walked from Santa Fe or further.

After two hours we head back to the church and are surprised at how crowded it has become. The amount of people is increasing, like locusts swarming.

There is a line for entering the church that extends out to the street and down about the length of a block. They will wait for hours to enter.

More Later…(there is no time to write as Brian has jammed solid this visit – and that is a good thing for me, just not for a timely blog post)

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